Found Purpose, Birthday Blessings and Uglies–Were they lost?

Psalm 146:8 “The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.”

Sunday evening…I love Sundays. Darkness is sneaking into the house as shadows are crawling across the floor and creeping up the sofa. This morning we hung out at Heavenly Dad’s house, a cup of Michigan Cherry coffee waiting for us. Extra fun was the bonus that it was Crispy Creme Sunday. Donuts were beckoning to be snagged on the way to service and we obliged. Today was family time. Summer camp participants shared memories, experiences, their songs (I did my very best to jam in the pew), challenges Heavenly Dad gave them, but the best were the kids that said He had laid it on their heart to go into ministry.

Though the adults spoke about passing on the baton to our kids or the church will die, the little kiddos at the microphones flooded my mind with memories. I told Eric it wasn’t about keeping the kids in the church. Many pastors and missionaries had previously graced that stage. One of the girls Archie and I coached in basketball just came home from the mission field. NMC is the starting block. The adults pour into the kids but it doesn’t stop at what they do. The kids are given the most relevant gift: they are taught, then challenged, to have daily TAWG=Time Alone With God.

When I was a kid, that was talked about and I wanted it but didn’t know what to do. “Bible, Check. Time of quite with no TV or radio, Check. Ummmm….opening the Bible to…let’s see, um, maybe if I say a prayer and open the Bible, God will have the verses He wants me to read. Yah, that’s it! Now how much am I supposed to read? Is this a timed thing or chapters? How exactly does this work?” I was so lost, but I did my do diligence.

These kids were taught to take it to the next level. They had journals. Not only were they equipped with the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (Bible-did you catch it?) but were taught to then pause, pray and write down what came to mind. Let Heavenly Dad speak to them. When additional questions come to mind, dig in, a couple more verses, prayer, quiet, then journal. Repeat daily and TAWG becomes more than what you do but who you are. You rely on Heavenly Dad to speak, direct, and protect you, sometimes opening crazy doors, other times closing them.

I walked away missing being in the trenches. I missed when the light popped on in guys and gals’ eyes. It’s awesome when they realize they are never ever alone and there is plan for their lives. There is no longer the question of, “Why am I here” but “How can I tell others that they are here/were created for a reason/purpose?” The emptiness, that hole in your soul that we try to fill with stuff, relationships, food, drugs, alcohol, whatever, gets so full of crazy love that the “stuff” that was consuming our thoughts, time, and money just doesn’t seem very important anymore. It’s awesome when the light comes on early. When it does, they won’t have years of “natural consequence” from throwing everything and anything into that God-sized black hole.

After leaving, being offered a box of left over donuts on the way out (ya have to help a brother out and not say no, right???), home to leftovers and soft music. Eric and I checked schedules for the week, month, then the next month, sigh.

This week…would have been Archie’s birthday. To me he will always be 46 but to his baby girl, he is 50, aging right along with her.

Taylor popped into work this week and was super emotional. On Archie’s birthday she drives their Nissan, orders our family’s favorite pizza and takes it to the cemetery to share with him (thanks again to all of those who chipped in on the bench headstone. It is well used). The Nissan is sick and being it is 25 years old, they are having trouble finding local parts. Thankfully, she came at a good time so it was time for break! I jumped online and found one of the missing parts. I ordered quickly to make sure it would arrive days before his bday, telling her it was for her birthday. She smiled and gave me a hug, feeling like all was not lost.

A statement of Eric’s that has brought comfort to Taylor and me was,”I wish Archie wouldn’t have died for both of you and Taylor… .” He gets it. The rest of that sentence, was,”but he did.” It’s nobody’s fault. Because of Archie I am who I am and the woman that Eric loves. We grew up, put up and challenged each other to be better for God and the other person. So this week I will be thankful for the one Heavenly Dad blessed me with for 28 years and continues to bless me with “Archie’s mini me(s),” aka, Taylor and Kristian.

Because of Archie, I will celebrate every birthday to the best of my ability. Some are for this world, others for our eternal home. Planning one of those celebrations is exactly what I did today, for Eric’s September birthday.

Speaking of Eric, we have a story we are in the middle of.

The day we broke up we had attended a gathering. I won’t go into detail but the Mamma Bear came out of me for Eric. Let’s just say I felt he had been treated unjustly and I was almost driven to make up for it. It was odd the way that situation, the way others treated him, came up as how he was treating me and the way Heavenly Dad intends and wants us to love each other. “Others” is a vague term including family, those with whom we work or attend church, date, or even run into at the store, basically everyone.

If I remember correctly(?), he texted me a goodbye, and that opened a line of communication. We agreed to continue to see each other but things were going to be different. The biggest change was that he began praying out-loud with me! He had never been comfortable doing that as his relationship with Heavenly Dad was private. Until that point, I hadn’t been invited in.

I truly feel like Heaven Dad used that situation of rejection to,
Psalm 146:8a “The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.” open Eric’s eyes to see and realize he didn’t have to be alone. Heavenly Dad intends for us to do life together with other like-minded believers but we have to be vulnerable. That’s not easy or comfortable. To be honest, it’s stinking hard and doesn’t feel good. We are human and the LAST thing we want to feel is discomfort in any shape or form.

Eric and my verse OUGHT to be Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose.” This was just the first of many super difficult situations-I’ll call them uglies- that should have torn us apart but in the end, brought us closer together…but that is for another day.

Until next time: Blessings!

Author: Tracy Cook

Widowed one week before our 27th wedding anniversary, Heavenly Dad continues to carry me, now blessing me with a second chance for love.

One thought on “Found Purpose, Birthday Blessings and Uglies–Were they lost?”

  1. Happy Birthday Archie! It was you too that brought Sam and I together. I will always be great full to you for that. In the last 26 years we have had our ups and downs. I feel like this last year we have grown closer than any of the other years. Thank you for allowing Sam and my friendship to blossom back then. Because you had the power to shut it down due to the position he held. Thank you.

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